TRAGIC DEATH AT THE BORDER: Zimbabwean Shot and Killed by South African Soldier
A young Zimbabwean man lost his life at the border recently when he was fatally shot by a South African soldier. 23-year-old Mduduzi Mbulelo Mlilo was among a group of 16 smugglers who were intercepted by soldiers at an illegal crossing point on the Limpopo River. According to witnesses, Mlilo was assisting people to smuggle goods, mainly onions, when he was shot in the left breast by the soldier. He fell into the river and his body was later retrieved after six hours.
Father Demands Answers
The Chronicle reports that Mr Dubayi Mlilo, the father of the deceased, confirmed that his son was buried in Bulawayo on Friday. He said that he did not face any challenges repatriating the body from South Africa and that border authorities at Beitbridge made the process seamless. However, he is devastated by the loss of his son and wants answers about why the soldier had to use lethal force.
“This is devastating; my son was killed just like that. If they were really implementing the law, they could have arrested him and taken him to court,” he said. “We have had an update from the police and we will follow the case with interest.”
Soldier Arrested and Charged with Murder
The soldier who shot Mlilo has been arrested and charged with murder. He is set to stand trial at the Musina Regional Court on May 15. The incident has sparked outrage, especially in Zimbabwe where people have accused South African soldiers of using excessive force at the border.
“We are quiet saddened by this incident and we hope he will get justice,” said Mr Mlilo.
Previous Incidents at the Border
This incident comes just a few weeks after a member of the Border Management Authority shot and killed another Zimbabwean man for reprimanding soldiers for assaulting an elderly woman. The incident occurred at the foot of the New Limpopo Bridge on the South African side of the border.